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Market Your Business with Yard Signs

Posted By : Gary Simon Date Created : April 23rd, 2012 Date Updated : May 29th, 2018

Pink & Purple Arch CastleThe inflatable season is in full swing. However, just because you are booking events every weekend does not mean that you should stop marketing your business. Actively promoting your inflatable rental services year-round is the best way to ensure that your business continues to grow. One great way to market your inflatable business this time of year is through yard signs.

Spend a few dollars and have professional signs made containing your company name, phone number and web site. These signs can be staked into the yard or area where your inflatable products are being used. Neighbors and simply people driving down the street will see your sign, product, and plenty of happy attendees having fun in your bounce houses. This is a great and inexpensive way to promote your services. Of course, you should always be sure to check with the home owner or person hosting the event who has hired your services before placing your company signage in a private lawn.

If your company name does not speak for itself regarding the services your company offers, for example “Bill’s Inflatables”, you should also include a line on your signage stating what your company does. Be sure the font is large enough to see from a car passing by and that the color is bright, but still easy to read. Your yard signs should be large enough to read, but not so large that it is gaudy and makes people less likely to allow you to display it. A good rule of thumb is to consider a 12″x18″ or 18″x24″ sign, depending on the amount of information to display. You may also want to consider including a photo of an inflatable on the sign. If you decide to go this route the photo should be in color, which will increase the cost of your signage. A simple sign that can be staked directly into the grass has the potential to do wonders for your business, winning your more and more customers.

When you are not at an event consider placing the yard sign in your own front yard for further visibility. Inflating a bounce house, even when not in use, and placing the yard sign beside it can create even more inquires about your products, as drivers take notice of this.

The weekend is a key time for promoting your services through this type of marketing, as traffic through residential areas may be higher, and drivers are focused more on recreational activities.

You can also try placing your yard sign in a public area. However, some towns have regulations limiting or restricting this. A good rule of thumb is to place the yard sign where you already see other signs. A risk in doing this is that your sign could be stolen from a high profile public area like this. If you are willing to risk the replacement cost consider placing the sign in a major traffic route on Friday, and retrieving it on Sunday.

Remember, the more places you can have your company name will directly affect the amount of business that you will get.

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Selecting the Right Storage Facility for Your Inflatable Business

Posted By : Gary Simon Date Created : April 9th, 2012 Date Updated : May 29th, 2018

Primary Colors Slip & SlideWhere you store your inflatable equipment is a big decision for your business and one that will need to be re-evaluated periodically as your inventory changes. You have two options when storing inflatable equipment; you can store it in your home, or in an off-site facility.

If you have the space and opt to store the equipment in your home you will first need to check your local zoning laws to ensure this type of storage of business equipment is allowed. Keep in mind that inflatables, even when deflated and rolled do require a lot of space. You may find it necessary to build a shed or extension onto your home to store the equipment. Before going through this process you will want to make sure the cost savings of storing the equipment in your home will justify any modifications you will have to make.

Because of these limitations many inflatable business owners store their equipment in an off-site location. The right storage area for your business should be based on cost, location and size. You should also consider whether you are planning to add to your inventory in the near future. If so, consider a storage space with a little room to grow instead of having to move all of your equipment each time you purchase a new product.

Some inflatable business owners choose to rent a large warehouse to store the equipment they purchase. Of course, this type of decision will depend heavily on your budget and how much equipment you already have in inventory. Additional considerations for storage are whether to buy or lease the location. This decision again depends heavily on your budget, equipment in inventory, and the volume of your inflatable business.

You will also need to consider the distance of the storage area from both your home and the areas where the majority of your events are being booked. The cost of fuel and time spent traveling should be key factors affecting your decision of storage areas.

Security is another issue you will want to consider. Make sure the storage area is in a safe, well-lit area. Keys, security codes or keypads should be used. Your equipment is the most critical aspect of your business, not to mention a big investment, so it goes without saying that it is imperative that you keep it safe.

Whether you choose to store your equipment in your home or an off-site location make sure the area is dry and well-regulated for humidity, free of rodents and pests, and without extreme temperatures. Extreme heat can make an inflatable retain excess moisture, leading to mold and mildew issues. On the other hand extreme cold can make the unit difficult to handle, leaving it susceptible to brittleness and cracking.

Keep in mind that regardless of where the equipment is stored, how the equipment is stored is an even more critical aspect. Always clean and dry your equipment thoroughly before putting it in your desired storage location.

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Calculate Monthly Costs for Your Inflatable Business

Posted By : Gary Simon Date Created : March 19th, 2012 Date Updated : May 29th, 2018

Pink Castle MoonwalkOne of the most critical components of managing an inflatable business is balancing your costs against your revenue, in an ongoing effort to maximize your business’ profits. Each month you need to know what your sales were and your monthly costs. It is important to have a good estimate of the ongoing costs to operate your inflatable business each month so that you can estimate the amount of revenue and events you need to book to break even, and to make a profit.

The following are typical ongoing costs for an inflatable business:

  • Storage facility
  • Transportation
  • Advertising
  • Salary of owner and employees
  • Utilities – telephone, internet, etc.
  • Website
  • Insurance
  • Legal and other professional fees
  • Equipment cleaning supplies

While transportation may be a variable cost, depending on mileage to and from the events booked, most of these costs are fixed expenses that do not change from month to month. Knowing what your business is costing to operate on a monthly basis is a critical component to operating an effective inflatable business.

All of the above expenses become your inflatable business’ total monthly overhead, or the cost needed each month to keep your business operating. You should include the owner’s compensation at a modest level for the purpose of calculating these numbers.

The amount of expenses you business incurs will affect your pricing, owner and employee salary, and available spending for repairing and replacing equipment. Unforeseen costs will also need to be accounted for. You should set aside a certain dollar amount each month for this expenditure as well.

The accounting aspect of a small business can quickly become overwhelming with terms like balance sheet, income statement, amortization schedules, and profit and loss statements. To keep it simple what you really need to know about your business is – are you bringing in more money than you are spending?

If you find that your business expenses each month are consistently exceeding the income this is a red flag that you need to reevaluate aspects of your finances. You may be able to trim some of your expenses, such as reducing the size storage facility you are using, eliminating staff, or cutting back on the more costly advertising.

Another item to evaluate in this situation is the rental pricing of your inflatable equipment. Take a look at approximately how many events are being booked each month, and the average cost of each event. This number should be higher than that of your monthly expenses. If your expenses continue to exceed this you may need to consider increasing your rental pricing. When adjusting your pricing to cover expenses you need to make sure you are not pricing your rental fees so high that you will lose business. Doing some research about what other inflatable businesses in your area are pricing products at will give you a good ballpark of where you need to be with your own pricing.

Remember, it is important to keep a close eye on the finances to maintain a healthy and successful business.

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Inflatable Operator Training

Posted By : Gary Simon Date Created : March 5th, 2012 Date Updated : May 29th, 2018

Double Drop ChallengeIn any industry it is important that you maintain regular training to keep yourself and your staff up to date on procedures and information. The inflatable industry is no exception to this.

Many organizations offer safety programs for inflatable operators. These types of programs often include certifications awarded upon completion, that you can then inform your customers and prospects of, giving you some competitive advantage.

A good resource for information on inflatable training is SIOTO (Safe Inflatable Operators Training Organization). This is an established and well respected organization in the industry, and is also recognizable by many customers seeking inflatable services.

Completing courses, or becoming a member, of SIOTO gives you the opportunity to prominently display their organizational seal on items pertaining to your inflatable business.

SIOTO offers a ‘Basic Inflatable Safety Operations Certification’ course. This is a good course for new inflatable operators. This training focuses primarily on operating basic bounce houses, combo units and slides up to 16 feet high. For details on the ‘Basic Inflatable Safety Operations Certification visit http://www.sioto.org/aisoc.htm .

SIOTO also offers an ‘Advanced Inflatable Safety Operations Certification’ as a follow-up to the basic safety operations course for the more seasoned inflatable professional. This training covers the larger inflatable products; obstacle courses, large slides, carnival games and more. For details on the ‘Advanced Inflatable Safety Operations Certification visit http://www.sioto.org/aisoc.htm .

These are both good training programs for new and existing staff that may need a little brushing up. Sending your inflatable staff to an event, whether for set-up, dismantle or to supervise, with minimal training and supervision is a big risk to your business. By signing employees, even seasonal, up for inflatable training you are making an investment in your employee and ultimately your company.

Another critical training component for inflatable operators is first-aid and CPR certification. Every employee of your business that will operate an inflatable at an event should be CPR certified and these certifications need to be up to date.

There are a variety of organizations touting first-aid instruction and certification, including some that can be done exclusively online. It is advisable that you require employees, and yourself, to have this type of training done in person at a local facility. Hands on first-aid experience is a critical aspect for learning these potentially life-saving skills. To find a class in your area with the American Red Cross visit http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class .

Both inflatable operator training and first aid certifications for all employees are big selling points for your business. Don’t be shy about making your customers aware that you have done both. Display this information, including logos and seals for the organizations, proudly on your web site and any marketing materials. This is yet another advantage to differentiate your inflatable business from the competition.

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Tips For Buying an Inflatable

Posted By : Gary Simon Date Created : February 20th, 2012 Date Updated : May 29th, 2018

Whale JumpThe purchase of a new commercial grade inflatable for your business is not something to be entered into lightly. Not only is it a large monetary investment, but this will also affect what services and products you offer your customers for years to come. The key to purchasing a high quality inflatable that will last through wear and tear is to make sure you order from a reputable manufacturer. There are many details that go into the manufacturing of an inflatable that really make a difference in the long run.

When shopping for an inflatable you will want to consider the following:

  • What kind of vinyl and what thickness is being used? A high quality commercial grade inflatable will use 15 to 18 ounce vinyl. Any thinner than this and the longevity of the inflatable will be compromised.
  • Are the inflatable stitches reinforced? Double to quadruple stitches is recommended for commercial grade inflatables.
  • What additional items come with the inflatable? Are the blower and sand bags bought separately?
  • What is the manufacturer’s warranty? You should look for a manufacturer offering a three year warranty.
  • Details on the manufacturer are an important factor when considering where to purchase an inflatable. Find out how long the manufacturer has been in business, the lead time on supplying the products, and ask them to provide customer referrals that you can contact.

Once you have selected a quality manufacturer you should evaluate your business to determine what your needs are. Consider your existing inventory, what types of functions you have been servicing and any customer requests that have come in. Size and weight is also a big consideration. If you are a one person company you will need to make sure the inflatable is manageable to be moved, set up and taken down by just one person. Also, consider size limitations of your customers and their events.

Narrow down the choices by evaluating your business conditions and determining what type of inflatable you are in the market for; bounce house, combo, slide, interactive game. If you are replacing old, worn out equipment you may want to stay with the same inflatable type. However if you are adding inventory consider something new for your customers to choose from.

From here you will need to pick your inflatable style. If your business specializes in children’s birthday parties consider a child themed inflatable. If your inventory is minimal, you may not want to limit yourself and instead choose an inflatable product that is appropriate for both adults and children. You will then need to consider the colors, which at some manufacturers are customizable for you. This should not only be a matter of taste, but again thinking what your customers have asked for.

The real key to selecting your next inflatable purchase is to understand your target market and cater to them. If you feel you don’t have a good understanding of what your customers might like to see, consider calling a few of your best customers and asking them some questions. Getting a real feel of your marketplace is important before you commit to the purchase.

While pricing will of course be an issue, purchasing an inflatable is essentially the biggest investment in your company that you can make and should not be based on price alone. A high quality inflatable that will last you through the years without damage or needing repair is priceless to your business.

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